(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

DUNE--PART ONE: This is the third adaptation of Frank Herbert's novel, following the movie in 1984 by David Lynch and the television mini-series in 2000 by John Harrison. This version, by Denis Villeneuve, has a stunning visual design, perhaps the best we are likely to see in film in years. The scale of the scenery and everything in it is huge. The landscape is reminiscent of Luke's planet in STAR WARS, but that is not strange--STAR WARS is reported to have gotten its inspiration for this (and for its worm carcass) from John Schoenherr's illustrations for the serialization of the novel DUNE. We see some fascinating equipment in the desert, but the viewer is left in suspense as to what a full sandworm looks like. The people on the planet are drawn with a pseudo-mysticism that adds to the images. But as impressive as the mise-en-scene is, it cannot keep the viewer entertained by itself and it isn't too long before DUNE starts testing the viewer's patience and in general bewildering them. I am not sure I could put my finger on exactly where it happened but somehow a very good film turned into a moderately bad one. Perhaps we have spent too much time in the desert.

One question: If spice is necessary for interstellar travel, and spice occurs only on Arrakis, how did the people (presumably from Earth, but clearly not from Arrakis) get to Arrakis in the first place?)

And though the studio concealed it in all its advertising, this is "DUNE--PART ONE"--it is only the first half of the story. The second half is due out in the fall of 2023.

Released theatrically and on HBO Max 10/22/21; available streaming on HBO Max. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.

Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1160419/reference

What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dune_2021

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2022 Mark R. Leeper